[UPDATE 2: Since July, 2015, we have a new gallery for exquisite works of information design, data visualization and visual journalism. Visit it here.]
[UPDATE 1: The reactions to this announcement were beyond supportive. Thank you all, and I’ve collected some of those statements in the end of this post.]
“Sad” is kind of an understatement, when you think about losing a big chunk of five years of your work, with countless hours dedicated to a project that started without great expectations, but has grown over time into what Visual Loop is right now: a resource for those interested in data visualization and information design.
Since February 26th, both our Tumblr blogs (http://visualoop.tumblr.com/ and http://visualoopbr.tumblr.com/ ) have been mostly offline. They were deleted from my account, both at the same time, and without any notice. I reached out to Tumblr Support as soon as I noticed the issue, and after a few email exchanges, explaining the problem, they were fully restored, a day later, with the following email message:
Your content has been fully restored to your blogs. We’re sorry that this happened, and will do our best to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Unfortunately, less than 24 hours later the same thing happened again: both Tumblr blogs were gone, and I received another email, today, saying that my account has been flagged as ‘spam or affiliate marketing’, and therefore terminated.
For those not familiar with Tumblr, that means that all of the content posted there (more than 50.000 infographics and data visualizations from all over the world) is gone. For almost five years, our Tumblr was quoted in numerous high-profile websites form all over the world, and was among the most mentioned infographic-curating websites out there. Plus, it was a personal archive with many examples of data visualizations and infographics that will be hard to find again.
But more importantly, it had a great community around it and was the mean that initially allowed me to connect with some of the smartest, talented, hard-working and overall interesting people that I know of, without ever having worked or studied in the field of data visualization. To be honest, that was the main reason I decided to keep it running after launching this upgraded space, there’s an emotional component that I’ve perhaps underestimated, until now.
Because, let’s face it, curating infographics and data visualization projects has become “a thing”, on the Internet. In places like Pinterest, lots of users have some kind of “infographic” board, businesses like Visual.ly have grown in popularity, and there are literally hundreds of websites out there that offer publishers of every sorts the chance to submit their work – for example, Robert Kosara just launched NewsVis.org, a promising online gallery of infographics published in news outlets.
So, I do believe our Tumblrs don’t represent that much of a loss, for the data visualization community in general – except for that “Digital Dark Age” effect, that Manuel Lima talked about in his first book: It’s getting easier to find old medieval maps on the Internet than recent infographic and visualization projects.
Most of the contacts made during that time are as active as ever, of course, nothing can take that away, and I also know that the work being done here on Visual Loop – showcasing information designers from all over the world, sharing insights from some of the top minds in the field, featuring some of the most impressive journalistic projects published every week (in print and online), and the huge lists of resources we pull together every Saturday – already has its place in the infoviz community.
This work won’t be affected, together with the help of our guests authors and columnists, and all of you that send your projects to be featured on our weekly round ups. Keep them coming! I will, of course, suspend all the submissions made to our Tumblr blog, since there’s no way to keep it going after this situation – even if they restore it, by any chance.
Just wanted to also leave a final word to the companies that have sponsored both those Tumblrs, and our followers in that platform. I hope you keep supporting our work in this space as well.
Sorry for the long post – and in case you want to remember what our Tumblr was like, you can always visit Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
Thanks for the support.
Some of the reactions:
— Randy Krum (@rtkrum) March 12, 2014
— Alberto Cairo (@albertocairo) March 4, 2014
@TSSVeloso WTH? This is not good news.
— Lynn Cherny (@arnicas) March 3, 2014
@TSSVeloso no! That's terrible Tiago
— Andy Kirk (@visualisingdata) March 3, 2014
@TSSVeloso Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear that! There must be a way to be able to get it back online
— Tiffany Farrant (@tiffanyfarrant) March 3, 2014
@TSSVeloso awwhhh, that's sad! Long may it be remembered!
— News By Design (@NewsbyDesignUK) March 4, 2014
— KAnt (@konstantinosant) March 4, 2014
Very sad news about @visualoop. Great site and one of my favorites.
— michaelangeles (@michaelangeles) March 3, 2014
— Bill Shander (@billshander) March 4, 2014
— Nigel Hawtin (@nigelhawtin) March 4, 2014